In a recent earnings call with investors, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke about his ideas for the future of VR.
While the call was about the general Facebook ecosystem, Zuckerberg took the time to underscore the importance that VR will play in the future of Facebook:
“Over time, I expect augmented and virtual reality to unlock a massive amount of value both in people’s lives and the economy overall. There’s still a long way to go here, and most of our investments to make this work are ahead of us. But I think the feedback we’re getting from our products is giving us more confidence that our prediction for the future here will happen and that we’re focusing on the right areas.”
For anyone that has bought into the Oculus ecosystem, this could be perceived as good news for them. However, anyone who has concerns about the future of VR, the increased oversight by Facebook, could spell the end of the open nature of the medium.
He also spoke about what he believes to be the open nature of the Oculus ecosystem:
“We introduced App Lab, so developers can ship early versions of their apps directly to consumers without having to go through the Oculus Store. And between App Lab and streaming from PCs, we're pioneering a much more open model of app store than what's currently available on phones today.”
Just as I wrote about the dangers that Facebook pose to the VR industry, they are crowing to their investors about the openness of their app store. While it is true that it may be more open than the Apple App store, it is absolutely not the model that all other VR storefronts should emulate.
They also made it clear that they believed the future of VR would be wireless:
“Now, achieving Quest's high quality in a wireless form factor has been a major breakthrough. Having wires wrapped around you just really breaks the sense of presence in immersion, and the technology to deliver a great experience wirelessly is very advanced, and most companies aren’t going to be able to deliver this, but we believe that it is the minimum bar for a high-quality experience.”
While Facebook is making strides in the world of VR, I know many people that would not have gotten into virtual reality if not for the reduced price of the Oculus Quest 2, they are making it a much less open system.